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Apply for work permit in Canada as a visitor

Apply for work permit as visitor - Immergity Immigration Consultant
Apply for work permit as visitor - Immergity Immigration Consultant

What is a Work Permit?

A work permit is an authorization granted to a foreign national to legally work in Canada. You usually need a work permit to work in Canada. In some cases, you can work without a permit. In most cases, such an authorization needs to be attained before entering Canada. However, under certain circumstances, you may apply for a work permit upon arriving in Canada (at the port of entry - POE) or after entering Canada.

A work permit issued to foreign national may be either an Open Work permit or an Employer specific work permit (better known as an LMIA approved work permit).

Who can apply for a work permit from inside Canada?

You can apply from inside Canada if:

  1. you already have a valid study or work permit

  2. your spouse, common-law partner or parent has a valid study or work permit, and you have a valid/legal status in Canada

  3. you are eligible for a post-graduation work permit and your study permit is still valid

  4. you have a post-graduation work permit that has expired or will expire in the next 4 months

  5. you or your spouse, common-law partner or parent has a temporary resident permit that is valid for 6 months or more

  6. you are waiting on a decision on an application for permanent residence for the

  7. a. in-Canada spousal class

  8. b. temporary resident permit holder class

  9. you made or will make a claim for refugee protection

  10. you have been recognized as a Convention refugee or protected person by the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada

  11. you are allowed to work in Canada without a work permit, but you need a work permit to work in a different job (this does not apply to business visitors)

  12. you are a trader, investor, intra-company transferee or professional under the Canada–United States–Mexico Agreement (CUSMA)

Furthermore, keeping in mind the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, a temporary public policy has been issued to allow certain temporary residents in Canada with a visitor status to apply for a work permit from within Canada.

Who is eligible under the temporary Public Policy issued on August 20, 2020?


1. You are a visitor in Canada (with a valid status) and are applying for an employer-specific work permit under the public policy.

As a visitor, you are eligible to apply for an employer-specific work permit if:

  • You are in Canada with a valid temporary resident status as a visitor (this includes maintained status, at the time of work permit application submission)

  • You submitted an employer-specific work permit application using the specific application form.

  • You have remained in Canada with status since application submission.

  • You submitted the application on or before August 31, 2021

2. You held a work permit in the last 12 months and are requesting for an interim authorization to work if:

As a temporary worker, you are eligible to apply for an interim work permit if:

  • you had valid temporary resident status at the time of work permit application submission and have remained in Canada with status since.

  • You held a valid work permit in the 12 months preceding the date on which you submitted your application for a work permit under this public policy, even though you are now only a visitor.

  • You intend to work for the employer and occupation specified by the LMIA or LMIA-exempt offer of employment included in their work permit application submitted under the public policy.

  • You have applied to IRCC for the interim authorization to work as per this public policy using the IRCC Web form; and

  • You have requested that the authorization to work be applicable until a decision is made on your work permit application.

The original public policy came into effect on August 24, 2020 was extended on April 1, 2021 and remains in effect until August 31, 2021.

What are the reasons for which my work permit application may be refused?

Regardless of where you apply (inside Canada or outside Canada), your application may be refused if:

  1. You are unable to prove to an officer that you will leave Canada when your work permit expires.

  2. You do not provide sufficient proof of funds to show that you can take care of yourself and your family members during your stay in Canada and to return home.

  3. You have a criminal record or a history of not obeying the law (you may be asked to submit a police clearance certificate).

  4. You are a danger to Canada’s security.

  5. You are not in good health and are unable to provide a medical examination clearance, if needed.

  6. You plan to work for an employer listed with the status “ineligible” on the list of employers who failed to comply with the conditions.

  7. You plan to work for an employer who, on a regular basis, offers striptease, erotic dance, escort services or erotic massages; and

  8. You are unable to provide to the officer any other documents they ask for to prove you can enter the country.

For other common reasons of refusal, please click here.

Why do you need an authorized representative?

There is a higher risk of refusal in cases where the application is not properly prepared. No one can guarantee an approval (not even us), but we are confident with our experience we can significantly increase your chances at a positive outcome for your case. Immigration cases are time sensitive and require professional approach. You may be able to self educate yourself by reading online or consulting with friends, but when it comes to handling the documentation and formats that are evaluated on strict guidelines, it is always better to seek professional help. Misrepresentation of facts or providing incorrect information (even if it was unintentional) could result in refusal if not a BAN.

Use our online Assessment Form to share relevant information for your case. Get in touch with us and we will assess your case and provide you with the best possible guidelines.

Disclaimer: These articles provide information of a general nature only. It may no longer be current. It does not give legal advice nor should you rely on it as legal advice. If you have specific legal questions, you should consult a lawyer. If you are looking for immigration advice, book an appointment.

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